Our Startups

We are excited to introduce you to our first class of startups, ready to be mentored by some amazing experienced entrepreneurs and business people in Charlotte.

Our 2018 Startups


Honeyfi

Ramy Serageldin

TEAM

Co-founder & COO: Joseph Stanish
Co-founder & CAO: Samuel Schultz

REVENUE MODEL

1)Savings – The next version of the product will let users save via a Honeyfi savings account, we’ll collect 100+ bps on savings balances.

2) Partner products & services – products like life insurance and college savings (529s). We bring in trusted partners and collect a referral fee if our users end up going through our partner.

SECRET SAUCE

(1) Honeyfi is built for two people. Joint finances are harder and more complex for Millennials because they get married later and have less money than their parents did, thanks to lower income and more debt. That means that for Millennials, it’s crucial to have a solution like Honeyfi, which allows them to work together while controlling what they share with each other.

(2) Honeyfi goes beyond day-to-day money management and takes a more holistic approach to managing household finances.We start by helping couples track their spending and create a budget, but we go beyond that by helping them save for goals together.That is critical to helping couples navigate big, intimidating life events like paying for a wedding, saving for a home, and preparing for a child.

Honeyfi is a platform that helps couples integrate their finances and save for goals together. Couples link their accounts to the app, decide what to share with their partner (balances and/or transactions), and then see all of their finances – organized and categorized – in one place. Honeyfi then helps couples with day-to-day money management, like budgeting and tracking spending, and longer-term finances by helping them work together toward goals.

Joint finances are harder and more complex than ever. That’s because Millennials couples face two unique challenges. First, Millennials get married later than ever, which means they keep their finances more separate and maintain more banking relationships than previous generations. Second, while Millennials want to accomplish the same goals as their parents (weddings, kids, house), they are financially worse off than their parents were, thanks to lower income levels and more debt.

NEED HELP WITH

  • Ip Strategy
  • Early Team Formation
  • Occasional Informal Feedback
Gig Connected

Keith Clithero

TEAM

Bryce Holcomb is the head developer with experience creating dual-sided marketplaces in the on-demand staffing space

REVENUE MODEL

Pilot business model is to charge a matching fee to the employers. We’re exploring options for the future to collect a fee based on a percentage of wage payments. All fees to Gig Connected are paid by the employers.

SECRET SAUCE

Gig Connected is working to be a community integrator, bringing together existing organizations to accomplish a unified goal. Additionally, we’re using technology to address the staffing issue the construction issue has faced for years, and at a lower cost than traditional staffing agencies. While other solutions similar to Gig Connected exist, there are none focusing on the Southeastern United States.

We connect construction employers with construction workers.

Construction employers and workers are burdened by an inefficient and inconsistent hiring process that exacerbates the problems caused by existing labor shortages throughout the United States. Workers and employers are limited to the jobs and workforce available in specific geographic locations. Workers are concerned with the availability of safe job sites and reliable payment. Employers struggle to find a qualified and reliable workforce.

The pain points are felt by both the employers and the workers. Gig Connected owns all technology and source code currently on the platform and has not identified any IP that could be patented.

NEED HELP WITH

  • Business Development
  • Commercial Potential of Technology
  • Early Team Formation
  • Occasional Informal Feedback

Gig Connected is a web platform that provides employers direct access to a pool of skilled and unskilled workers for commercial, residential, or road construction projects by posting open jobs and allowing workers to apply. A two-way rating system provides transparency to both parties; workers’ are more confident that their rights will be protected while employers are more confident in workers’ skill sets and levels. The in-platform payment system ensures full and on-time wage distribution.

Vizlatech

Fabio Ayala

REVENUE MODEL

We sell our unit signage to General Contractors and builders. We make the signage, install and maintain it. We charge a monthly fee to maintain the plans current with any chances the designers make.

SECRET SAUCE

My experience has been working in the field among the labor force. I have figured out what information they actually need. I have built what no other company has. While other companies have simply digitized information, I have taken it a step further and created a “packet” of information. There is no “searching” You simply scan, and the information is there.

We create signage for construction projects, with embedded QR codes that when scanned provide access to construction plans.

The amount of time that is wasted looking for information in a jobsite translates to thousands of lost dollars. Access to the plans in the field for everyone does not exist. Vizla provides access to everyone with a simple scan. The problem is for the 100’s of workers on a construction project. Also, a problem for General Contractor managers, as they still have to search for the information. Vizla extracts all the information packages into one single QR code for every room in a project and makes it accessible with one simple scan

Vizla gets access to the construction plans. We extract all the information required to build one room. For example, the paint color, type of shoe mold, color of carpet, light fixture, heights for cabinets etc. We collect all the information, package it one file, and embed all this info into a QR code for every apartment or room that is built.

NEED HELP WITH

  • Business Development
  • IP Strategy
  • Early Team Formation
  • Commercial Potential of Technology

I want to be apart of this program to build my team and receive mentorship on business development and further product development. There is so much construction in Charlotte, and my product can save 100’s of thousands of dollars. Vizlatech.com is the website. I’m a one-man team, and I have self-funded my app, and have managed to sell it to one General Contractor here in Charlotte.

Hourz

Anu Mantha

TEAM

Liz Mockler – COO Technology Team -Development and Support

REVENUE MODEL

Our platform is free for hourly workers. There is no subscription fee for businesses. Once work is completed, the businesses pay a fee for hourly work to cover the cost of accessing talent, scheduling, to payment processing. The fee is determined based on the volume hired from the platform.

SECRET SAUCE

A scalable technology solution for a critical community problem. A passion for Charlotte and a desire to Pay It Forward. A team that has broad and deep experience in business, operations, and technology that spreads across a breadth and depth of industries. Hands-on experience volunteering in the community for the last four years, first-hand experience and understanding of issues impacting at-risk and vulnerable youth in Charlotte. Still perfecting the sauce. It is a journey.

HOURZ is a 24X7 Job Exchange(fair) for Hourly Workers and Businesses. For people between the ages 16-24, there is no single place or tool to get connected to hourly work. The problem is even more significant for homeless, foster care victims and at-risk youth as there are inherent biases in current hiring processes. The vocational coordinators at the not-for-profit organizations have a manual nonscalable process. As per the program leader Dawn Hill – “ The MYEP program of the City of Charlotte is a good example of a program unable to scale and expand in the absence of a technology solution.” Charlotte ranks at the bottom of the list and has 50th upward mobility rank. As indicated in the 2014 Harvard Study The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States.“

It functions almost like UBER of hiring- from recruiting to payment processing. We hope to partner with the City, businesses, organizations like INCLT and non-profits to collaborate and create access to opportunities through the HOURZ platform in a new employment paradigm.

NEED HELP WITH

  • Business Development
  • Early Team Formation
  • IP Strategy
  • Informal Feedback
  • Commercial Potential of Technology

City of Charlotte, lack of jobs for at-risk youth is an ever-increasing community problem with a ripple effect. If the homeless, trafficking survivors, incarcerated youth, teen moms and the at-risk youth in the 16-24 yrs age group do not get jobs then we will see higher crime rate and associated problems.

FYT Virtual Assistants

Mike Barugel

REVENUE MODEL

Through selling monthly service packages that provide concrete deliverables tailored to the unique operations and bookkeeping needs of the client. This will provide recurring monthly revenue for the business.

SECRET SAUCE

FYT Virtual Assistants has a team of contracted Virtual Assistants highly-skilled in operations and bookkeeping, who are client-focused, adaptable, responsive, efficient, and sharp. We work with our clients to determine their operations needs, build out and document repeatable processes, and deliver reliably and consistently to ensure our client’s have can outsource their operations arm without hesitation.

We solve the problem for Serviced-based Small Business Owners/Managers, Entrepreneurs, Solopreneurs, Coaches/Consultants, and Creatives.

We help our clients free their time by providing expert operations and bookkeeping support, leaving them with more hours in the day to focus on their passion and growing their business.

Business owners and managers are flooded with operations and administrative tasks and processes that often take up valuable time in their days, weeks, and months. Oftentimes, this administrative work gets in the way of bigger priorities in the business, such as attracting and booking new customers, starting new initiatives and projects, etc. Similarly, these individuals may want to take on new projects or clients, but lack the administrative backbone to handle the new tasks and requests needed.

We assess the core needs and desires of our clients and propose a monthly package to meet these needs.

NEED HELP WITH

  • Business Development
  • Informal Feedback

Package examples would include: Bookkeeping & Payroll Administration, Technology/Web/Email Support, and Content Delivery. Each client will work directly with an FYT Client Manager (CM), who will handle requests, delegate tasks to the Virtual Assistants on the project, check work for quality, and oversee the delivery of final products to the client. The CM will also proactively manage the client relationship and provide suggestions for greater efficiency and new service opportunities.

Looking for mentorship to solidify our business model and revenue streams, discuss opportunities to scale the team and our service offerings, and learn about opportunities to develop business/procure new leads and prospects.

Musser and Company

Caleb Musser

TEAM

Caleb Musser, President & Founder: By 25, he had worked his way up to the director of sponsorship sales for a NASCAR team. It was with the NASCAR team that he realized there was a wide gap between the creative marketing agencies and product manufacturers. He launched Musser & Company in 2014 to fill the void – Caleb and his firm have been hired by Fortune brands and sports marketing teams in every major sports league to execute high-level business development, service, and retention campaigns.

Dakota Wade, Director of Sale & Marketing: Dakota joined the Musser & Company team in February of 2017 and immediately made an impact; signing clients like Delta Airlines, Columbia University, University of Georgia and others.

Deborah Wade, Art Director: Deborah is art and design genius behind Musser & Co’s work. An incredibly talented illustrator, Deborah has drawn artwork for the New England Patriots, Mark Cuban, and the Philadelphia Eagles.

I started Musser & Company with $600 and table in the saw garage in December 2014 to fill gap between creative marketing agencies and generic corporate product companies with our signature Message Boxes. Within 2 weeks of incorporating, I signed my first account with Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Shortly thereafter, I signed Auburn University and the New York Mets for gifting campaigns. In year 1 (2015) we made gifts for 2 Presidents of the United States , Fortune CEO’s and all 32 NFL owners at Super Bowl 50. Since then, our client list has to grown to 40+ clients in the NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS and NCAA. In 2017, we were hired to create the championship gifts for the New England Patriots and Chicago Cubs. We also became an approved gifting partner of Delta Airlines.

The reason we have executed projects for such prestigious clients is because we apply emotional intelligence to physical products. We take strategic insights about people and brands, and incorporate those insights into our premium, American-made offerings. Marketing, sales and HR departments come to us because they don’t pay an agency for creative and then find a manufacturer to create their product. We offer a turn-key solution that captures attention and strengthens relationships in the impersonal digital age.

BovaMetrics

Curtis Watkins

TEAM

Curtis Watkins CEO – is an experienced entrepreneur and innovator well known in the Charlotte community. This is the 3rd full time role Curtis has held in a high tech startup company. He comes to BovaMetrics after spending the past 1.5 years serving as the COO of Emrgy, a venture-backed hydrokinetic renewable energy company. Prior to that, Curtis served for 8 years in the emerging technology organization of Duke Energy where during his time he also founded CLT Joules.

Mike Mason, who is helping to lead our efforts to build a sales and support organization around the solution. Mike has over 35 years in the financial services software sector. Collectively, the team represents 2 previous exits, millions of dollars in fundraising, knowledge, and experience in building and running high tech companies, and deep experience with startups. The Bova team has been working together as a whole since mid-2017 and all are working full-time on this effort.

BovaMetrics has built an Augmented Intelligence platform called Equilla, designed for Wealth Managers. Equilla is an advanced algorithm that improves performance on any long-term portfolio through a proprietary process called ‘Performance Harvesting’. Running Equilla against the managed portfolios should boost returns anywhere from 2.5 – 7% starting in year 3 and beyond.

The company has completed two external proof of concepts, the first with a wealth advisory firm based out of Columbia, SC and the second with a large institutional firm that provides products/services to over 6,000 RIA firms across the country. Both PoC’s were successful enough to allow for the continuation of full integration with the large institutional which will help us serve our first set of customers.

We are a pre-revenue company as we have been focused on building our own solution on a large institutional platform. We have however completed two key pilots as previously noted and with the recent fundraiser completed in February 2018, we can now complete our full UI and institutional integration in order to bring on our first batch of customers in mid-20188 (with a completed LOI already in place with one firm and more discussions currently underway).

Cloosiv

Tim Griffin

TEAM

Tim Griffin, CEO, established the vision for Cloosiv while working as a management consultant within the retail industry. His qualifications include expertise leading the development of mobile point-of-sale strategies, and driving behavioral adoption efforts in support of enterprise transformations.

James Burkhardt, Product Officer, has significant experience in coding web and mobile applications across platforms. He has previously led the development of mobile payment apps for retail merchants, and has integrated inventory and reporting functions with several merchant point-of-sale systems.

Tim Marangola, Revenue Officer, has cross-functional expertise in both operational and investment banking settings. He has advised retail companies during debt, equity, and M&A transactions. He has also provided decision support to senior leaders regarding product profitability, capital projects, and new product ROI.

Cloosiv is a merchant agnostic platform that eliminates the need for consumers to download thousands of apps just to go shopping, by allowing them to make purchases and earn savings with a single app, regardless of what they’re buying or who they’re buying it from. Consumers spend over 32 billion hours per year waiting in line to make purchases. This statistic has been a primary driver of brands and developers building over 100,000 white label and feature-specific apps that have flooded the heavily saturated iOS Shopping and Food & Drink app categories, two of the lowest adopted categories in the App Store. The solution to this problem is Cloosiv, a truly customer-driven point of sale solution that simplifies the customers daily buying experience across merchants and verticals, accepted for making purchases and using earned rewards across quick-serve establishments like coffee shops and salad bars, traditional retail environments, and even restaurants.

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Become a VMS Mentor

Innovate Charlotte is seeking experienced individuals who want to  mentor the next generation of entrepreneurs. Our goal is to create high impact connections between successful business men and women and young or new entrepreneurs.

Become a Mentor

Get Mentored

We are looking for companies interested in taking the next step in their entrepreneurial journey as part of our Venture Mentoring pilot program based on renowned MIT VMS Program.  Our focus is innovation driven companies at the validation stage of their business model. It means that you have a few paying customers already and needs mentors to attract investment and scale your business.

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